Written answers

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Department of Health

Vaccination Programme

Photo of Patricia RyanPatricia Ryan (Kildare South, Sinn Fein)
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312. To ask the Minister for Health if medically vulnerable children over 12 years of age and medically vulnerable adults under 60 years of age will be included in the Covid-19 vaccine booster programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56644/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The immunisation programme in Ireland is based on the advice of the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC). The NIAC makes recommendations on vaccination policy to my Department based on the prevalence of the relevant disease in Ireland and international best practices in relation to immunisation.

On 15 November, the NIAC recommended that a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine be offered to persons aged 16-59 years with underlying conditions, all residents in Long Term Healthcare Facilities and persons aged 50-59 years. The Chief Medical Officer has endorsed the latest NIAC recommendations and written to the HSE requesting they be operationalised as soon as possible

The NIAC had previously recommended an additional mRNA dose should be given to those aged 12 years and older with immunocompromise associated with a suboptimal response to vaccination who have completed their primary vaccination course. The third dose of an mRNA vaccine should be given a minimum of two months after the last dose of the primary vaccination schedule.

The NIAC will continue to examine emerging evidence regarding booster vaccines for others in the population where there is evidence of waning immunity and reduced effectiveness and will make further recommendations if required.

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